August 20, 2017
Pastor Mark Bradshaw
“It is not fair to take from the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
I think we can safely assume that our Lord is tired.
John had lost his head, and now Jesus has lost his cool.
And who can blame him, everytime he tries to get away for some quiet someone sees him, and before long there is a crowd pressing in.
The people are desperate and in need and Jesus is full of compassion and God has made it evident that through Jesus healing flows. Then one day Jesus decides he needs to get up and go, head to the coast and outside of the borders of Israel where he can enjoy that sweet Mediterranean breeze, put his feet in the sand and watch the sunset. Perhaps Jesus was feeling overwhelmed, weary under the weight of it all. The more people he healed the more aware he became of how many were still in need. For every lost sheep that our Good Shepherd carried back into the fold there seemed to be two new wolves, ready to devour. And so Jesus, feeling hemmed in, goes on a retreat. Jesus decides to practice a little self care, hoping for a certain level of anonymity. Yet, and notice this, whereas Jesus was seeking to find refreshment and renewal outside of his borders geographically, God sends someone to Jesus who is outside of his ethnic and social borders in order to get him back on track. To put it bluntly, God sends his Son a woman to set him straight… to expand his borders… to increase his imagination… to broaden his perspective.
In the television industry, it really has become a type of art to recap the previous episodes of a season, often in only 1-2 minutes, as a means of bringing the viewer up to speed. The current episode plays a specific role within the overall story and the reason for the opening recap is to refresh the audience’s memory as to how it relates to a few specific strands within the overall story line.
Now, at first glance it is surprising that this morning’s Gospel made it past the final edits. Any of you wish this was a deleted scene, clearly out of character for Jesus? And yet, as we may be standing here scratching our heads the observant disciple will discover that there is a trail of breadcrumbs that has been left for us to follow.
So here it is, our opening recap:
Jesus appointed how many disciples?
The women with the bleeding infirmary, who reached out and touched the hems of Jesus’ robe and was healed – how many years had she been sick?
That happened while Jesus was on his way to heal a young girl who was how many years old?
Okay, are you picking up what Matthew is shoveling? So, why 12?
- 12 tribes of Israel.
So, in our Gospel this morning we heard Jesus’ words, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
And right after Jesus learns of John’s death he goes away to try and be alone and the crowds follow, he teaches them and then does not want to send them away hungry. With five loaves and two fishes how many people are fed? And here is the bonus question – how many basketfuls are left over?
Are we getting the point yet with 12?
Now, perhaps it is not too much of a stretch to think of the 12 basketfuls of broken pieces as the crumbs that were leftover, one for each tribe. I am picking up on a theme of abundance.
Okay, one last theme in our episode intro, this would have been our Gospel reading from last week – and I don’t know about you but I was more than happy to have Abbey veer off from the lectionary and give us her message! Yet, in the story of Jesus walking on water, summoning Peter to come and walk with him, I would have the cameras zoom in on Peter sinking as Jesus extends a hand and says, my paraphrase, “Man, you have such little faith!”
Okay, who is still with me? Did I lose anyone?
Jesus sets off for the coast, outside of Israel, he is tired and I imagine the Pharisees have really gotten under his skin, and then she shows up. A Canaanite, that godless group of people who inhabited the land before Israel came in and conquered it. A Canaanite woman, nonetheless, and she is desperate. Her daughter is tormented by a demon and she begins crying out for Jesus’ attention. “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. Jesus just ignores her. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” Lord, just send her away.
Last week Abbey shared with us a profound poem by the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray. Much of what I am about to share I gleaned from an article in the New Yorker written in April of this year. Pauli Murray, born in 1910, was ahead of her time. She sat in the wrong seat on the bus, participated in nonviolent demonstrations, and advocated for the equal treatment of all persons several decades before the civil rights movement. She began her life as an orphan and culminated it by becoming the first African American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest. In high school, she was the only black among 4,000 students. She applied to the University of North Carolina and was denied admission because she had the wrong color of skin. Later she was denied admission to Harvard Law because she had the wrong gender.
While studying at Howard University Pauli was no longer excluded for the color of her skin but rather due to the fact that she had the unfortunate condition of being born a woman. She was the only woman among faculty and students and on the first day of class her professor was all too eager to humiliate her by remarking that he could think of no reason why a woman would desire to attend Law school. Thus, not only did Pauli resolve to become the top student in her class, which she was, but she also grew in her determination to end what she termed Jane Crow.
While at Howard a class discussion arose on how to best end Jim Crow. Plessy vs. Ferguson, the case that upheld segregation, used the phrase “separate but equal.” The class conversation was focused on the term “equal” and the men scoffed when Pauli dared to question the term “separate.” She proceeded to bet her professor $10 that within 25 years Plessy vs. Ferguson would be overturned, Pauli was right. But her law-school professor, Spottswood Robinson, would come to owe Pauli much more than $10. Pauli would go on to argue in her final law school paper that segregation violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. Years later Spottswood Robinson remembered Pauli’s paper and presented it to Thurgood Marshall and the remainder of his colleagues, the same group who successfully argued Brown vs. the Board of Education.
Now, I would like to propose that Spottswood Robinson and Jesus of Nazareth both share something revolutionary in common. It is not that they both devoted themselves to the cause of justice, nor that they both were committed to advocating for those who society had discounted. Rather, what was revolutionary about these men, and worthy of emulation, is that they both were willing to eat crow. They both were willing to not only admit, but seemingly revel in the fact that a woman had set them straight.
Stepping back into our Gospel, up until this point we have grown accustomed to Jesus being the one who stumps the religious leaders, but in our Gospel this morning it this unnamed Canaanite woman who stumps Jesus. “It is not fair to take from the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” “Yes Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table.” She does not play the victim, she does not need to make Jesus into the villain. Rather, she takes what Jesus gives her and uses it to stump him. She gets creative. – Jesus, isn’t it God’s table, and isn’t God a God of abundance? Jesus, your reference point is this group of children and you are wondering if there is going to be enough for them. My reference point is the merciful God who created us all, and all I need is a crumb from God’s table and my daughter will be made well. Jesus, isn’t your God bigger than that? And, move over Peter, Jesus looks at this woman and says, “Wow, how great is your faith.”
Back in that classroom at Howard University, as those young black men were debating what it means to be treated as equals, the one thing seemingly all men in power held in common, black and white, was that women were not equals. And if it has become hauntingly clear in the recent weeks that we have so much more to overcome for racial equality, let us equally remember how much more we must overcome for gender equality.
And just how many people were fed? Was it 5,000? Matthew makes a point of saying “5,000 besides women and children.” So, who was it that decided the women and the children did not count? If 15-20,000 children of God ate and were filled on that afternoon, who decided it was only the men who count? It wasn’t God.
God counts those the world counts out.
God counts those who men discount.
We can count on that.
You are hereby formally, officially and cordially invited to please join us during this our centennial year and beyond (in-person, online, offline and/or Pastoral Care), on our continuing journey of Love, Saint Barnabas Style 🖤
Our Land Acknowledgement Statement
Our Land Acknowledgement Statement
We acknowledge the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Gabrielino-Tongva First Nation on which we are worshipping, praising and loving. We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the territory of the Gabrielino-Tongva Peoples, who have stewarded this land throughout the generations. We thank them for their strength and resilience in protecting this land and aspire to uphold our responsibilities according to their proud tradition. To learn more and to support The Gabrielino-Tongva Nation please click here – http://gabrielino-tongva.com/
To The Gabrielino-Tongva Nation and all the Peoples of the Indigenous and Aboriginal Diaspora, we send Love, Saint Barnabas Style
Our Mission Statement – Love, Saint Barnabas Style
Our Mission Statement – Love, Saint Barnabas Style
Saint Barnabas Pasadena is the oldest historically black Episcopal church family in the San Gabriel Valley, which celebrates our diversity as a community of love, serving Jesus Christ through radical acceptance, beautiful worship, generous spirit, and biblically based study while making a difference in the world through serving as a community hub with spokes in the greater community of Northwest Pasadena and West Altadena. ALL are welcome! Please come join us!
WE PRAY UNIVERSALLY – WE THINK GLOBALLY – WE ACT LOCALLY
WE UNDERSTAND THE ASSIGNMENT
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry is at Church of the Incarnation Manhattan.
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry is at Church of the Incarnation Manhattan. Click here https://fb.watch/g9C5nBJ1Op/
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s 2021 Christmas message
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s 2021 Christmas message – Episcopal News Service
[Episcopal News Service] “The Christmas stories are reminders that this Jesus came to show us how to love as God loves. And one of the ways we love as God loves is to help those who are refugees, those who seek asylum from political tyranny, poverty, famine, or other hardship.
“In the 1930s, Episcopalians did this to love as God loves, and today, ministries like Episcopal Migration Ministries, the work of this church, have helped to resettle some 100,000 refugees as of December 2021. And that work goes on for refugees from Afghanistan and from other places around the world.
“The Christian vocation as Jesus taught us is to love as God loves. And in the name of these refugees, let us help all refugees.
“God love you. God bless you. And, this Christmas, may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.”
Download full video transcript in English or Spanish.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
How to aid refugee neighbors this Christmas:
Learn more: Find out about Episcopal Migration Ministries’ work and how to get involved at episcopalmigrationministries.org. Sign up for the EMM newsletter or weekly news digest here.
Afghan Allies Fund: Those interested in helping with the urgent need for housing assistance for Afghan allies arriving in the U.S. can find donation information online.
Volunteer/sponsor: Those interested in volunteer opportunities or community sponsorship to support Afghan allies can fill out this interest form.
To directly support EMM and its life-changing work, visit episcopalmigrationministries.org/give, or text “EMM” to 41444 (standard messaging and data may rates apply).
Friends In Deed – The Food Pantry
The Food Pantry provides food assistance to low-income and no-income families in the greater Pasadena and Altadena areas. We are currently providing food to about 400 households per week, totaling approximately 1,000 people. This dynamic and compassion-driven program is the largest at Friends In Deed.
Our Food Pantry is set up like a neighborhood market where our community members can come in and select their own groceries. In addition to providing shelf stable foods like canned goods, dry goods, juice, and cereal, one of our goals is to provide meat & protein, fresh fruits & vegetables, and foods that appeal to the diverse population in our community. When available, we also offer toiletries, diapers & formula, and pet food.
We receive much of our food from the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. We work with local organizations and businesses, including Food Forward (Backyard Harvests & Farmers Markets), Trader Joe’s (Lake Avenue & Eagle Rock), Ralphs (La Canada & La Crescenta), Grocery Outlet – Altadena, and others, to be able to provide fresh produce along with meat & protein. Churches, synagogues, schools, local businesses, groups, and individuals also bring donations to Friends In Deed. We rely heavily on these in-kind donors, and their support is critical to our success.
For more information, call 626.797.6072 or email Tim Nistler, Director of the Food Pantry at email@example.com or Stacey McCarroll Cutshaw, Food Pantry Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pantry is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 10am to 3pm, and Thursdays from 10am to 1pm. Anyone that is here by 9am on a Food Pantry day, will have a chance at being first when we open, via our Lottery. Anyone that comes after the Lottery has started, will just put their name in the next available slot on the “Sign In” sheet. It doesn’t matter which day people visit the Food Pantry, but they are only allowed to come one time per week for food.
To get registered, we require that identification be brought for each person to be registered in a family, some form of documentation with current address, and proof of low-income status. If a person does not have one, or more, of these requirements, that should not stop them from coming to get food. We will meet with each person and make sure they can get food that day. We hold new registration between 10am and 12pm each day.
If you know someone that would benefit from coming to the Food Pantry, please share this flyer with them. The flyer can be cut into four and distributed freely.
Friends In Deed is located at 444 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91104 (on the SE corner of Washington & Los Robles).
WHAT FOOD DO WE NEED?
- OUR GOLD ITEMS: canned tuna/chicken, hearty soups, beef stew, chili, pasta & pasta sauce, peanut butter, cereal, rice, cooking oil, flour, sugar, fruit juice, and vegetable juice (V8)
- Meats & proteins (we have freezers and refrigerators for storage): chicken, beef, pork, fish, prepared packaged meals, cold cuts, tofu, etc.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables – including those from your garden or fruit trees
- Dried beans, oats, other whole grains
- Eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese
- Other: canned fruits & vegetables, canned beans, jelly, soups, other baking items
- Milk (shelf stable or powder)
- Other perishable foods
- Single serve pop-top cans, chicken or tuna pouches, granola bars, Capri Sun drinks, fruit cups, jerky, crackers, and other single serving food for those experiencing homelessness in our community.
- View PDF of Needed Food Items
(Donations are accepted Fridays and Saturdays only, from 9am to 3pm)
If you still aren’t sure what you would like to donate, we always say, “Donate something you would like to eat, because, chances are, someone else will like it too.”
OTHER ITEMS TO DONATE
- Pet food: dogs and cats
- Diapers – all sizes
- Baby formula
- Toiletries: soap, shampoo & conditioner, toothbrushes & toothpaste, deodorant, shaving cream & disposable razors, feminine products, hand lotion, etc.
- View PDF of Needed Toiletries
Throughout the year, the Food Pantry partners with various groups and organizations to host events like our Back-To-School Backpack Give-A-Way, Thanksgiving’s Operation Gobbler, and “Christmas for the Kids”.
Spark of Love Toy Drive – Nov 15th to Dec 24th 2021
The Pasadena Fire Department has partnered with the ABC-7/Spark of Love Toy Drive since its inception 29 years ago. It is one of the highlights of serving the Pasadena community each year. While 2020 was challenging for all of us in various ways, Pasadena businesses such as yours came through, enabling us to meet the needs of MANY children in our own community! This is a true testament to your commitment to making this campaign a success no matter what!
THIS YEAR, WE ARE THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE THAT WE ARE BACK!
It’s been a challenging year for all of us, but the Pasadena Fire Department is as committed as ever to meeting the needs of our local children, especially this holiday season! In order to protect both our community and our Firefighters …
THE SPARK OF LOVE TOY DRIVE OFFICIALLY BEGINS ON
MONDAY, NOV. 15TH and will run until FRIDAY, DEC. 24TH, 2021
Yes! PFD is BACK to accepting toys at each one of our Pasadena Fire Stations and we hope that YOU will be BACK with us to support this year’s toy drive! To obtain boxes and posters for collecting toys at your location, contact Veronica Petty at 626-744-4112 or via email at email@example.com.
**(Please be aware that in addition to accepting new, unwrapped toys, sports equipment and gift cards for the little ones, don’t forget our teen boys and girls. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked).
We are grateful to have amazing supporters like you and appreciate all you have done in the past. We are absolutely unable to be successful without your continued support.
Looking forward to a great season and we give you our sincere gratitude in advance!
Find your local Fire Station for toys dropoff
Daniel Nausha, EMS Battalion Chief
Pasadena Fire Department
215 N. Marengo Avenue, Suite 195
Pasadena, CA 91101
Episcopalians–We Do Christmas Right
By The Rt. Rev. Kirk S. Smith, Bishop of Arizona
Did you know that many of the customs and practices that we Americans associate with Christmas came from the Church of England, and in this country, the Episcopal Church?
The New England Puritan settlers were very distrustful of any celebrations of Christmas, which they associated with the excesses of the Church of England that they were fleeing from. In some New England colonies, it was even illegal to celebrate Christmas. This attitude began to change in the early 19th Century when the enormously popular writer Washington Irving took a trip to England. In his Sketchbook (1820), he reported back to his American readers how the English kept the holiday, with their traditions of caroling, Christmas trees, Yule Logs, and Christmas church services. The stage was set for the famous poem The Night Before Christmas (1823), written by Clement Moore, who was a theology professor at General Seminary in New York.
But the emphasis on Christmas in the Episcopal tradition is based on more than just a love for custom and pageantry. Anglican theologians have always been particularly interested in the doctrine of the Incarnation, the proclamation that God came among us as one of us. The English Reformation theologians were greatly influenced in this regard by the early fathers of the church, who wrote on this subject in the 4th and 5th Centuries. A good example of this is Lancelot Andrews, Bishop of Winchester (1589-1605), whose 50 Christmas sermons are still inspiring hundreds of years later. It is no wonder that even today, Americans tune into King’s College Cambridge broadcasts of Lessons and Carols or to Christmas morning at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. We Anglicans/Episcopalians know how to do Christmas right!
Which is a reason as people of the Incarnation, we need to be clear in rejecting the reactionary rhetoric we have been hearing lately which claims that “God is no longer present in our schools” or that the government is waging a “War on Christmas.” If we believe that God comes to us, “sets up his tent among us” (in the language of the Gospel of John), then the idea that we can exclude God from his creation, or that there are places where God is “not allowed,” is both nonsensical, and actually borders on heresy. God is everywhere in God’s creation. We might ignore this fact (and often do), but there is no way we can keep God out. God is with us whether we deserve or not, whether we respond to it or not, whether we like or not! God is just as present to those carolers in Washington National Cathedral as He is to those grieving parents in Newtown, Connecticut. That is what Incarnation is all about. God is with us, Emmanuel. To do Christmas right is – above all – to remember that the Christmas message is for everyone, everywhere. It is “glad tidings, peace on earth, and good will towards all.”
Episcopal Relief & Development supports additional COVID-19 emergency response programs around world
Episcopal Relief & Development continues to support partners responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Cuba, Jordan, Haiti, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nepal and Peru.
“Our partners are remaining vigilant in identifying ways to walk alongside communities, particularly in light of new variants such as Omicron,” said Nagulan Nesiah, Senior Program Officer, Episcopal Relief & Development.
In Madagascar, the organization is partnering with Mission Anglicane on programs to expand on its initial COVID-19 response in order to build long-term resiliency and lasting change. The Church is acting as a beacon of light, sharing key information about the coronavirus and helping to stop the spread of misinformation about vaccines. Through its first COVID-19 response project, the six dioceses of Madagascar learned how building community and working together can create sustainable results.
For this second phase of response, all six dioceses are using an asset-based approach to bring skills and knowledge together to enable communities to increase their income and savings, which will help these communities face future challenges without needing to look for outside assistance.
Local community leaders will be equipping laborers with skills to build new businesses to replenish lost income. The dioceses are also providing financial support to teachers who are not being paid and parents who need help with school fees as a result of the pandemic. This will support the education of the next generation and support long-term sustainability in the community. Additionally, Mission Anglicane is building wells in two villages in southern Madagascar to provide clean water and help reduce the spread of the virus through proper sanitation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted inequalities and the need to build resiliency,” continued Nesiah. “Episcopal Relief & Development continues to support our partners as they identify new ways to help their communities bounce back.”
Learn more about Episcopal Relief & Development’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This work is supported by generous grants from Trinity Church Wall Street and other donors.
Episcopal Church to reach 100,000 people served in 40 years of refugee resettlement services
[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal Migration Ministries is nearing a milestone in the church’s 40-year history of participation in the U.S. refugee resettlement program: Sometime this month, the church will have helped more than 100,000 people establish new homes in the United States after fleeing war, violence and persecution in their home countries.
In the 1980s and 1990s, many of those refugees came from East Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe. In recent years, the new arrivals most commonly have been displaced by turmoil in Burma, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to State Department data. And in the past four months, Episcopal Migration Ministries, or EMM, and its affiliated local organizations have scrambled to welcome thousands of Afghan evacuees who were allowed into the United States after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August.
While each new neighbor has a personal story to share, all 100,000 have benefited from the support of local Episcopalians and a range of federally funded services provided by EMM’s affiliates, including English language and cultural orientation classes, employment services, school enrollment, and initial assistance with housing and transportation.
“They all have one underlying common thread, and that is they are people who needed protection. They were seeking safety and security,” EMM Director of Operations Demetrio Alvero told Episcopal News Service. He estimated that the church would pass the milestone in the week leading up to Christmas. “The 100,000 represents 100,000 lives that have changed; they found security in this country, they found hope, opportunities.”
EMM’s work is historically rooted in the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief, which began assisting people from Europe fleeing the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. After World War II, The Episcopal Church partnered with 16 other Protestant denominations to create Church World Service to provide overseas aid and resettlement assistance for displaced people. After the Vietnam War ended in 1975, thousands of Southeast Asian refugees were resettled in U.S. communities with The Episcopal Church’s help.
The current federal refugee resettlement program was created in 1980, and The Episcopal Church participated from the start, through the Presiding Bishop’s Fund. EMM was established in 1988 as a separate agency to coordinate The Episcopal Church’s resettlement work.
Ali Al Sudani is one of the nearly 100,000 people who have received assistance from The Episcopal Church to resettle in the United States. He was 36 when he arrived in Houston, Texas, as a refugee in 2009. Al Sudani told ENS he had fled his native Iraq over threats to his safety because of his work as a translator for the U.S.-led coalition of troops stationed in his country.
Al Sudani now serves as chief programs officer for Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, the EMM affiliate that helped welcome him to Houston 12 years ago. He praised the Episcopal agency’s continued commitment to serving refugees as the church approaches its resettlement milestone.
“As a beneficiary of The Episcopal Church’s support, I think this is beautiful,” Al Sudani said when asked about the significance of 100,000 people resettled. EMM and Interfaith Ministries not only eased his transition into the Houston community, he said. They also helped him find a sense of purpose through his work helping other refugees start new lives there. “I will always be grateful for this opportunity.”
The Episcopal Church’s General Convention regularly expresses its support for refugee resettlement, most recently in 2018, when it called on governments “to expand refugee resettlement as a humanitarian response that offers individuals safety and opportunity.” Its support for immigrants dates back at least as far as 1883, when it created a Committee for the Spiritual Care of Immigrants. Subsequent chaplaincies were based in New York and ports on the West Coast to minister to immigrants coming from Europe and Asia.
Most of the 100,000 people resettled by the church in the past 40 years have come to the United States as refugees. EMM also assists recipients of special immigrant visas, which the government typically offers to people who have worked with the U.S. military overseas.
This year, EMM was asked to assist about 3,200 Afghan evacuees as they arrive in cities like Houston. Some may be able to apply for special immigrant visas, while others will apply for asylum. They are among the 50,000 Afghans who were welcomed into the country under a humanitarian parole program tied to the end of the United States’ 20-year war in Afghanistan.
Though not classified as refugees, they will receive services similar to those provided to refugees by EMM and the other eight agencies with federal contracts to carry out the resettlement program. The other agencies are Church World Service, Ethiopian Community Development Council, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the International Rescue Committee, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and World Relief Corporation.
Helping refugees “is a tangible way of living out our commitment to be a church that looks and acts like Jesus, sharing his way of love with all, especially the most vulnerable among us,” the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church, said in a written statement to ENS. “While EMM is one of the smaller of the nine official resettlement agencies for the United States, it has been acknowledged as a model of excellence in this vital work.”
Alvero, EMM’s director of operations, said the agency typically resettles about 5% of the total refugees brought to the country through the federal program. Historically, EMM has served about 2,000 to 3,000 refugees a year, with a peak of 6,600 resettled in 2016, the last year of the Obama administration. At that time, EMM oversaw the work of 31 resettlement affiliates in 26 dioceses.
Refugee resettlement plummeted during the Trump administration, as President Donald Trump pursued policies to restrict both legal and illegal immigration. Trump slashed the maximum number of refugees allowed into the United States to a historic low of 15,000 a year, down from a norm of between 70,000 and 90,000 during the previous two decades.
The diminished resettlement activity forced the nine resettlement agencies to end their work with about 100 local affiliates, Alvero said, and EMM’s number of affiliates has since decreased to 11.
Global resettlement needs, meanwhile, have only increased in recent years. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates there are 26 million such refugees worldwide, and tens of millions more have been displaced within their home countries.
With President Joe Biden taking office in January, his administration pledged to work with EMM and other resettlement agencies to restore a spirit of welcome to refugees fleeing war and persecution in their home countries. Biden increased the resettlement cap to 125,000 for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, though it remains uncertain how soon EMM and the other resettlement agencies will be able to ramp up their operations to accommodate additional refugees awaiting resettlement.
“This country is big enough and rich enough really to assist 125,000,” Alvero said, but the government needs to restore its overseas processing operations to full capacity while the resettlement agencies rebuild networks that were decimated under Trump. EMM has not yet added new affiliates, though it is researching options in Kansas, West Virginia and Wyoming, a state that has no prior history of refugee resettlement.
For the Afghans who arrived in the United States under the humanitarian parole program, EMM has invited Episcopalians and their congregations and dioceses to support the resettlement work by making donations online to the Neighbors Welcome: Afghan Allies Fund and by volunteering in other ways, which they can do after filling out an online form.
Donations to the Afghan Allies Fund have topped $500,000 so far, Alvero said.
The Afghans initially were housed at U.S. military bases. Many of them now are making their way to Houston, where Interfaith Ministries is in the middle of welcoming an estimated 1,300 individuals, Al Sudani said. About 730 already have moved to the city. Most of the remaining are expected by mid-February.
The number of arrivals is unprecedented in such a short period of time, he said, but the community and The Episcopal Church are stepping up. “We have seen an outpouring of support during this crisis in a manner that we haven’t experienced it before,” he said.
He recalled a similar experience when he first arrived in Houston in 2009, not knowing what to expect. “My perception about Houston was about oil and, you know, the Wild West, cowboys. But I was surprised how welcoming and generous and supportive the people of Houston are. It’s a great city to be in.”
Now, with Interfaith Ministries and other EMM affiliates about to begin welcoming the church’s next 100,000 refugees, Al Sudani, who became a U.S. citizen in 2014, said the underlying mission endures. “We are creating new Americans,” he said. “We are helping these people to become new Americans and support them as they contribute to their communities.”
– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Your nation salutes you’: Bob Dole honored at Washington National Cathedral funeral
[Episcopal News Service] Bob Dole, the longtime Kansas senator and national Republican leader, was mourned Dec. 10 in a funeral at Washington National Cathedral in the nation’s capital city.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Washington Bishop Mariann Budde officiated at the service, and President Joe Biden was among the eulogists.
“Bob Dole was one of the greatest of the greatest generation, a patriot who always placed country above partisanship and politics,” the Very Rev. Randy Hollerith, the cathedral’s dean, said in welcoming the invitation-only crowd to the service. “While we mourn his loss, we gather this morning to give thanks for and to celebrate his extraordinary life.”
Dole, 98, died Dec. 5 after revealing in February that he had lung cancer. He served for 36 years in Congress, as a representative and then senator, and he was the Republican nominee for vice president in 1976 and for president in 1996. He also served in the Army during World War II and was wounded in combat in Italy.
“God, what courage Bob Dole had,” Biden said in recounting Dole’s patriotism and heroism, as well as his service to his country. “He understood that we’re all a part of something much bigger than ourselves.” Biden, a Democrat, served for more than 20 years with Dole in the Senate.
“I salute you, my friend. Your nation salutes you.”
Dole’s funeral was livestreamed on Washington National Cathedral’s YouTube page, at times drawing more than a thousand viewers.https://www.youtube.com/embed/4QHR0uQATsc?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
The funeral took place five weeks after people gathered in the cathedral to honor another American political icon, Colin Powell, the former Army general and secretary of state, who died Oct. 18 at 84 of COVID-19 complications. Powell was a lifelong Episcopalian, while Dole grew up attending United Methodist Church services.
Four presidential funerals have been held at Washington National Cathedral, most recently for President George H.W. Bush in December 2018.
The Rev. Barry Black, chaplain of the U.S. Senate, gave the homily at Dole’s funeral. Eulogists included Dole’s congressional colleagues Pat Roberts, a former Republican senator from Kansas; and Tom Daschle, former Democratic senator from South Dakota.
Dole’s daughter Robin Dole also shared fond memories of her father, before concluding with a passage from a “farewell letter” that Dole had composed with a former staff member, to be released after his death.
“As I make the final walk on my life’s journey, I do so without fear because I know that I will again not be walking alone. I know that God will be walking with me,” Bob Dole wrote. “I also confess that I am a bit curious to learn if I am correct in thinking that heaven will look a lot like Kansas, and to see, like others who have gone before me, if I will still be able to vote in Chicago.”
– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at email@example.com.